Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Associations Need to Market Too

A marketing professional I have admired for some time time, is Mr.Jim Mintz a co-founder of the Centre of Excellence for Marketing in the Public Sector. Jim has been on the leading edge of public sector marketing most of his marketing life.
One common misconception Jim always points out, is that public sector organizations feel they don't need to market. Jim's article below, shows you; if you are an association, that you need to market too.

Assocations Need to Market Too -- by James Mintz
A number of years ago, I was asked to make a presentation to the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Society of Association Executives on the topic of marketing for Nonprofits with emphasis on Associations. My contact at the CSAE felt that marketing should be a major focus of Associations but was rarely applied to any significant degree.
At that time, I looked at some of the key functions of an Association and make a connection between marketing and these functions.
Here are some of the areas where I felt that marketing is relevant to an Association.
• Defining what product/program/service an association can offer to its clients as well as getting customers/clients to buy or use programs/products/ services i.e. sales strategies
• Revenue generation, including fundraising, alternative revenue strategies through sponsorships and affinity programs and commercial partnerships
• Advocating/lobbying policies to key stakeholders e.g. government
• Training staff to be client friendly
• Executing attitude/behaviour change campaigns e.g. social marketing/public education/outreach
• Executing integrated marketing communications campaigns: direct/database marketing, advertising, promotional activities, on-line/digital marketing, event marketing, exhibiting/trade shows, public relations publicity, education materials, print, videos etc.
• Enhancing the image and branding of an association
• Marketing campaigns to retain existing/find new members/volunteers
• Communications programs to existing membership (newsletters, e-letters etc)

As you can see, many of the principles that were applicable over a decade ago are still very much aligned to today’s nonprofit environment. It is also clear from our recent research that Associations face even greater challenges such as demands for improved service delivery under tight budgetary constraints, the number of new associations resulting in enormous competition for people’s time, attention and dollars and a need to improve communications and services with clients, constituents/stakeholders, volunteers and donors. Thanks to Jim for his comments above.

So you can see, when it comes to marketing your product or service, it really does not matter what industry or public sector environment you are in. At the end of the day the main point is; are you communicating with your audience, are you promoting or developing your brand, are you generating business, ( leads, new members, selling product) and are you moving your organization forward? Too often communicators and marketers believe that they don't need to be marketing all the time. They think they can just put the organization out there and it will be found. As you can see from Jim's article above, that it's important for every organization to consider marketing all the time.

Thanks to Jim Mintz for his comments in this post, Kensel J. Tracy, is a business coach and Senior Partner with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Look at How Kids are Being Forced Fast Food

Published: December 05, 2007

CHICAGO ( -- McDonald's has found a nifty way to reach kids even as TV ad options toward the demographic shrink: Advertise on report cards.

This is not the first time the school district has run ads on report cards. Before McDonald's, the sponsor was Pizza Hut.

The Golden Arches picked up the $1,600 cost of printing report-card jackets for the 2007-2008 school year in Seminole County, Fla., in exchange for a Happy Meal coupon on the card's cover. With 27,000 elementary school kids taking their report-card jackets home to be signed three or four times a year, that's less than 2 cents per impression.

Children who earn all A's and B's, have two or fewer absences or exhibit good behavior are entitled to a free happy meal at a local McDonald's -- so long as they present their report card.

A 'new low'
Naturally, that's riled some consumer groups. "Lots of companies advertise directly in schools, but I think McDonald's has taken this to an all new low by advertising on report cards," said Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. "It bypasses parents and targets children directly, [telling them] that doing well in school should be rewarded by a happy meal."

Regina Klaers, spokeswoman for the school district, said the report cards have contained some form of advertisement for the last decade. Until this year, Pizza Hut sponsored the printing. Ms. Klaers said when the company decided to pull out this year, the district shopped the sponsorship around. She added that only one parent has ever complained about the jackets.

"My daughter worked so hard to get good grades this term and now she believes she is entitled to a prize from McDonald's," Susan Pagan, an Orlando parent, said in a press release distributed by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. "And now I'm the bad guy because I had to explain that our family does not eat at fast-food chains."

Michele Simon, author of "Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines our Health and How to Fight Back," said that the school district is "selling kids' health for chump change."

"They should be embarrassed," she said. "If you're going to sell out kids' health you might as well get something good for it."

What's more, Ms. Simon said, the program seems to fly in the face of the fast-feeder's recent rhetoric about healthful eating. "It basically shows when you get down to it, how corporations are doing everything they can to keep their brands in front of kids' eyeballs," she said. "And the insidiousness of this is it's infiltrating an official document from a public school."

Recent health initiative
Last summer, McDonald's joined the Better Business Bureau's Children's Food and Advertising Initiative. Participants, including Kraft Foods, General Mills and Burger King, have agreed to limit advertising to children under 12 and focus on better-for-you options. The reductions were to have been apparent by January 2008. The McDonald's sponsorship will carry through the end of this school year.

Based on recent tweaks, the caloric and fat content of Happy Meals can vary widely. While a meal with a cheeseburger, fries and soda has 660 calories and 25 grams of fat, a white-meat chicken-nugget meal with apple dippers, caramel sauce and milk has 375 calories and 13.5 grams of fat.

William Whitman, spokesman for McDonald's USA, pointed out that children -- and their parents -- have a choice. "McDonald's has a longstanding and rich heritage of supporting education and academic excellence," he said. "McDonald's does not advertise in schools. However, we continue to support education initiatives in the communities we serve."

Ms. Linn said that food rewards for academic performance is still a controversial concept.

Yet it's got a long history. Pizza Hut's "Book It" program, in which elementary and preschool children who meet monthly reading goals are entitled to a free one-topping personal pizza each month, is 22 years old. The elementary program alone has nearly 1 million U.S. classrooms participating.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Is Advertising, Art

A good friend of mine, Nigel Beale and I shared office space for over 6 years. Each day we would find ourselves in great discussions about marketing and advertising as we sipped coffee and looked at the ever changing seasons of the Byward Market in Ottawa.

Nigel is one of the most brilliant minds that I know. At that time, I had an advertising agency and saw myself as somewhat of brilliant marketing person who could do no wrong. I also saw myself as somewhat of a designer, copy writer, salesman and pontificator about all things relating to marketing and advertising. Nigel saw himself as writer and guru in the advertising field. In fact he was turning out some amazing material through a column he was writing for Canada's Marketing Magazine. A brilliant wit and an amazing friend, those days in that cramped little Byward Market loft and the conversations we had over a pint in a Byward Market cafe on hot summer days were some of the best marketing days of our lives. Life seemed simple and the billings were good. We were out to change the world and public policy all at the same time.

The following was written by Nigel and I think it sums up many of the discussions we had. I think you will find it quite refreshing. After all most of us in the marketing and communications field think we know everything there is to know about advertising. Most of our opinions tended to come from osmosis with very little real thought as to the outcome. See what you think. I present Mr. Nigel Beale and his brilliant, Is, Advertising, Art -- note its published without his permission, however I know he will be glad to know its been published somewhere.

Is Advertising Art, by Nigel Beale
Oh Grand and Glorious Southern Guru, I am perplexed. What ails thee, my peabrained little grasshopper? My sleep has been short, my walls have been climbed, my hair has been pulled.

I must know the difference between advertising and high art. Oh Great Creator, please give me the answer.

Stir no longer, little vacuous one. Art is in the eye of the beholder, and yes, advertising can be high art.

But Holiest of the Holy, whilst I acknowledge there is a role for subjectivity in the appreciation of art, and that art and advertising similarly use form, colour and symbol to convey messages, and that both can be aesthetically pleasing and accessible, and that both share the goal of changing behavior and attitudes, and that both often highlight the tension between reality and ideals and can shape aesthetic tastes, does not an adequate answer to my question depend upon a precise definition of the term art?

Are there not different degrees of creativity and originality? Are there not different types of art?

Surely Majestic One, advertising is not "high" art, but rather popular, propagandistic art?

Not so, little inchworm. Art is a function of apprehension, ergo, there is no difference between "high" and "low" art.

But Mighty Aphrodite, do not ads see the world only through a blinkered lens: as products and services, as target markets and audiences? Do they not promote only consumerism and uphold only the status quo? Are not their motives restricted by budgets and deadlines, and by the necessity of pushing product?

How can ads experiment with ideas for their own sake when fettered by this capitalist manacle?

Do ads not craft specific messages for specific audiences at specific times?

Is not their goal to elicit singular responses?

Do they not aim to please, to arrest the intelligence and to allay our fears with easy solutions, and are they not primarily concerned with positive reactions?

And does not the prerequisite of mass appeal demand mediocrity? Does not art allow for a delight in, and the free play of, ideas for their own sake? Truly outstanding art rarely secures immediate popularity, n'est-ce pas Mon Dieu Seigneur?

Does not art encourage many ways of looking at the world?

Is it not often purposefully ambiguous and open to conflicting interpretation?

Surely, oh Towering One, artists do not worship audiences in the way advertisers do?

Do they not intentionally break boundaries, counter the status quo, and question accepted beliefs?

Many spend decades deconstructing society, transcending political, economic and religious systems, do they not?

You listen not, my pint-sized parvenu. Art is in the eye of the beholder. Hence an advertisement, even if it's only one in a million, can be high art.

But Lord of the Rings, is it not the sale that motivates the creation of advertisements?

Does this not put advertising solely in the realm of the shallow and material?

And thusly, are not ads only original in the context of commerce? And furthermore, did not the great Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye suggest that ads are farcical, ironic and trivial (and that their prodigious power rests here precisely because we view them as a joke, without analyzing their bountiful effects)?

In short, Monsieur Le President, are not advertisements viewed primarily with scorn?

And does not true art inspire awe?

And does it not create new ways of looking at the world and increase our depth of understanding about the meaning of life?

And, as such, does it not reside squarely in the realm of the deep and spiritual?

And does not great art burst forth with such stunning originality that it changes the way we see the world and ourselves?

And are great artists, those rare geniuses, not moved by more than the simple desire for coin, and do they not dwell deeply on the profound questions of man's universal condition?

And is not the equating of "high" art with advertising symptomatic of decadent, hollow, bankrupt, violent societies, which value material goods, "happiness" and facile solutions above all else?

And as such, All Knowing One, is this not an equation we should actively oppose?

Get not thy knickers in a knot wee Gordian. Your philosophizing incites me to slumber.

Nigel Beale is an Ottawa, Canada based writer.
Kensel Tracy is a Marketing Coach and pontificator, Friend and confidant of Mr. Beale.

"When it looks like its time to toss in the towel, Get not thy knickers in a knot, wee Gordian.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Facebook, Is Starting to Become a Controlled Advertising Space

Seeking to keep the peace in its popular online hangout, Facebook Inc. has overhauled a new advertising system that sparked privacy complaints by turning its users into marketing tools for other companies.

Under the changes outlined late Thursday, Facebook's 55 million users will be given greater control over whether they want to participate in a three-week-old program that circulates potentially sensitive information about their online purchases and other activities.

The concessions were made after more than 50,000 Facebook users signed an online petition blasting the system, called “Beacon,” as a galling intrusion that put the Palo Alto-based startup's pursuit of profit ahead of its members' privacy interests.

More than 40 different Web sites, including, and, had embedded Beacon in their pages to track transactions made by Facebook users.

Unless instructed otherwise, the participating sites alerted Facebook, which then notified a user's friends within the social network about items that had been bought or products that had been reviewed.

Facebook thought the marketing feeds would help its users keep their friends better informed about their interests while also serving as “trusted referrals” that would help drive more sales to the sites using the Beacon system.

But thousands of Facebook users viewed the Beacon referrals as a betrayal of trust. Critics blasted the advertising tool as an unwelcome nuisance with flimsy privacy protections that had already exasperated and embarrassed some users.

Some users have already complained about inadvertently finding out about gifts bought for them for Christmas and Hanukkah after Beacon shared information from Other users say they were unnerved when they discovered their friends had found out what movies they were watching through purchases made on Fandango.

The backlash against Beacon illustrated the delicate balancing act that Facebook must negotiate as the company tries to cash in on its popularity without alienating the users fuelling its success.

Beacon is a key component in Facebook's “Social Ads” program, which is vying to make more money from the rapidly growing audience that uses the social network's free services as a place to flirt, gossip and share personal passions.

This isn't the first time that Facebook has done an about-face after introducing a feature that raised privacy concerns.

Reprinted with content from Globe and Mail, Online, November 30th, 2007

Kensel Tracy is a Marketing Coach who provides coaching to small, medium and large size business organizations and executives.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Watch What you Post on Your Facebook Site, Your Personal Brand Could Suffer

I recently read and article by Virgina Galt about how recruiters are using Facebook sites to recruit employees. She states a small but growing number of employers are turning to online social networking sites to introduce themselves to prospective employees, according to a survey by Aon Consulting Canada. The key emerging trends uncovered by the survey of 93 recruitment and human resources specialists is that 22 per cent of recruiters regard social networking sites as an important avenue for "getting their message out there broadly," says Shane Creamer, operations leader in Aon's recruitment strategy practice."Organizations are looking for new avenues ... such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and these sources are emerging as a new stealth tool to help recruiters cast a wider net in identifying new talent," Mr. Creamer adds.

"They're stealth tools because the person who is on LinkedIn or Facebook may not necessarily be auditioning for you ... but may be receptive to some type of approach."These prospective job candidates might not actually be looking for new work, but they're poised to jump if the right situation comes along. "Sometimes, they need a little nudge." With Canada's unemployment rate at its lowest in 30 years, organizations find they have to sell themselves as good places to work. "The old play was sort of post the job out, and pray they will come. Now it's really about being more direct, more aggressive, getting out there," Mr. Creamer says.

The survey found that advertising remains the top method of attracting talent, with 94 per cent of survey participants citing direct advertising as an important recruitment strategy."Job boards continue to be an important means of sourcing [cited by 75 per cent], along with employee referrals [75 per cent], campus recruiting [52 per cent] and outside search agencies [49 per cent]," Aon reports.

Prospective candidates want to know what makes an organization a good place to work - "everything from monetary rewards, to career advancement, to culture," Mr. Creamer says."And you have to deliver on what you're offering. If you sell them [employees] on one message, and deliver on an entirely different message ... they're not going to stay with your organization."

What this says is that the trend towards social networks as sources of information for both the buyer and the seller will continue into the future. It will be important for organizations to fully understand that the purchasing power is now more in the hands of the consumer than it was in the past, and for all you folks out there with information on your Facebook page, be careful what you post because it can effect your personal brand. Also remember if employers are looking for top talent anything you say and do can have an impact on your ability to get that dream job you want.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Customers Consumption Habits are Changing

If you are selling a product at retail, its time to take stock of your sales process. As mentioned in previous blogs, the entire retail business is changing. I recently attended a seminar put on by the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada and they presented some pretty interesting stats. The average Canadian now spends 14 hours online. The biggest growth area is in the 55 plus age bracket. Most people interviewed in the survey had purchased more than 5 times on line which is significant.

Most people felt confident purchasing online and felt that it was easier to purchase from a web site than go to the store. Last boxing day for example I received the boxing day flyer from Best Buy. I needed a printer for the office. The boxing day sale was on. I went to the web site, saw what I wanted and ordered it. I received it two days later. Pretty amazing stuff really.

More and more consumers will be purchasing online. Some retailers will need to have major stores to showcase new products and services however retailers have a lot of work to do to find out who their audience is and where they come from. For now its business as usual, however those companies that are going to be successful are the ones that can figure it out quickly and capitalize on the buyers experience.

Monday, November 12, 2007

IBM Figures Interactive Advertising Formats will Grow

I recently read this press release from IBM. The following information was provided. IBM Global Business Services unveiled its new report, "The End of Advertising as We Know It," forecasting greater disruption for the advertising industry in the next five years than occurred in the previous 50.

To examine the factors influencing advertising and explore future scenarios, IBM surveyed more than 2,400 consumers and 80 advertising executives globally. The IBM report shows increasingly empowered consumers, more self-reliant advertisers and ever-evolving technologies are redefining how advertising is sold, created, consumed and tracked.

Traditional advertising players risk major revenue declines as budgets shift rapidly to new, interactive formats, which are expected to grow at nearly five times that of traditional advertising. To survive in this new reality, broadcasters must change their mass audience mind-set to cater to niche consumer segments, and distributors need to deliver targeted, interactive advertising for a range of multimedia devices. Advertising agencies must experiment creatively, become brokers of consumer insights, and guide allocation of advertising dollars amid exploding choices. All players must adapt to a world where advertising inventory is increasingly bought and sold in open exchanges vs. traditional channels.

This gives marketeers even bigger challenges as the market is becoming even more diversified. Canadians now spend on average 14 hours per week on line. This is more time than is spent watching television. As the market changes so will advertisers. It will become more important for products to be even more consumer friendly as social networks will now dictate the next hot product. Traditional advertisers will need to work a lot harder in finding out who their audiences are and spending way more time developing customer loyalty. In the next few weeks we will talk about some of things you can do to successfully cultivate customers and find ways to sell is an every changing market.

Kensel J. Tracy is a a marketing coach and Senior Partner at the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. located in Chelsea, Quebec.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Having a Good Sales Plan Does Not Have to be Complicated

As a small business coach, it quite amazing to meet owners of companies that have businesses that could be more successful if they had a plan. Without a plan, you are basically casting your fate to the wind and hoping your customers will show up.

A plan does not have to be complicated and can be a simple as knowing how many sales you want to get this year, your gross margin, ( sales less costs and operating), who your main targets are for customers and five simple sales steps for attracting the customers you want. The bottom line is you need to be selling new customers everyday and always be closing some form of new business for your company to be successful. Sales should be the most important part of your plan. Customers make companies work.

A very successful company that I know has developed three simple steps for getting customers. They want to have the best product in his industry, be an authority in their industry and they over respond to every enquiry to their company no matter how small.

The owner plans is to be the best in his industry and tell everyone that he is. His goal is to talk to ten new customers a week and to treat his existing customers like they are gold. He also tries to pay is suppliers first and tells them that he expects the same treatment from them as he gives his customers. To date this company is a leader and has more business then it can handle and most of it's sales come from referrals from current customers.

Your task this week is to review your business and consider your plan. If you have one, make sure its working for you, if you don't have a plan, get one fast, and if you need some help with the discipline, think about hiring a coach. As one of my old sales managers used to say; son, you should always plan your work and then work the plan.

Kensel Tracy is a business coach and Senior Partner in The Corporate Coachworkz. Inc.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Social Media, It Can't be Ingnored by Marketers

Millions of people are gravitating to social networking sites such as MySpace, Blogger and Facebook. At the same time, other medias such as television, print, magazines are starting to lose numbers or their numbers are on the decline. For example the Wall Street Journal mentions that had 142 million visitors during September 2007, while Windows Live Spaces had 119 million, MySpace had 107 million, and Facebook had 73 million. With numbers like these marketeers can not ignore this trend. There is still some big debates about whether these sites will last and will there be a return on the investment for investors and advertisers.

For the advertiser however participating in social media is a good way to build brand awareness and get customers to know and try your product. At this point these markets are strictly for those companies with deep pockets as most small businesses cannot effectively participate. Having a good blog attached to a product however helps you get more personal with your audience and adds credibility to what it is you do.

A recent experiment of mine, had me announce a new meetup on a topic of interest and within a few days I had four people that were interested in coming to my event. I was surprised as to the scope of the network in only a couple of days. Some expensive radio and print campaigns are lucky to draw a response like this in such a short time.

Its only a matter of time before even small businesses will need to how to build and/or participate in a local social networking group. All marketers are going to have to also get fully up to speed knowledge wise on social networks, as it only a matter of time when everyone in business will have to accept these networks and they will have to be taken very seriously.

There are already major networking sites for people over the age of 40 and now Eons a new social networking site for people over 50. Marketers and business everywhere take note, Web 2.0 and social networking are here to stay.

Kensel Tracy is a Business Coach and Senior Partner with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. in Chelsea, Quebec.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Beginning of the Personal Brand

Well over the past few months I have been doing a lot of research on social network marketing and I am finding that things are changing quite fast. For example, a couple articles this week showed that traditional media buys are on the decline while web marketing and personal brand marketing are on the increase. Personal brand marketing is using the Internet to promote your products and build your brand. An example is the " Just Start a Business" campaign promoted by which promotes getting a group together to just start talking about starting a business. The sponsor, Quicken Get Started, small business accounting software promotes the events, helps to offset the cost of the Meetups site and offers a free starter accounting software to those attending the event. In the past these dollars would have gone into mainstream media advertising.

Another examples is last year, Johnson & Johnson decided to boycott the so-called upfronts, an annual event when advertisers get together with television executives to negotiate for commercial time. In August, General Motors said that 2008 would be the last year for its longtime sponsorship of the Olympics. In May, A. G. Lafley, the chief executive of Procter & Gamble, told financial analysts that the company would spend less on traditional media and more on its Web site, in-store advertising and promotional events.

Another example is to take Nike's marketing pitch. Today,many Nike ads are shown only on the Internet. Wayne Rooney, the British soccer player, is currently featured in a series of online videos for Nike. In 2005, Nike placed a 2-minute, 46-second clip of the Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho online, instead of on TV. The video has had more than 17 million views on YouTube and became so well known that some television networks like Sky Sports and the BBC showed it in their news coverage — free. I would like to thank Louise Story for her October 14, 2007 story, The New Advertising Outlet: Your Life. in which she give the details above and a whole lot more interesting reasons why Internet and personal brand marketing will become even bigger in the years to come. I hope to cover this topic more fully in my next up coming blogs. In the meantime think about how you are building your own personal brand. I will give you some tips in the days and weeks to come.

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach and is Senior Partner with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. located in Chelsea, Quebec, Canada. He is currently writing a new book called: Building Your Personal Brand, Finding Your Way in the Real World. see his website as or at

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Why Would you Hire a Marketing Coach

Have you ever thought that you would need some additional marketing help and not want to hire an agency? That's a perfect assignment for a marketing coach. A marketing coach can cut the learning curve for you. Its that simple. A good coach can get an better understanding of you and your business and do what it takes to help you run a good campaign, develop a new brochure or web site, establish a sales and marketing plan or come in on a contract basis and run your marketing department in times of need like maternity leave or when you just need someone to run a project. As a marketing coach with over 30 years of experience, I have been involved in variety of projects at all levels. Concept, design, execution, sales, sales strategies, marketing plans, advertising plans, strategic plans. Over the next few months we will focus in on specific project areas and answer questions and work with you out in Blog land to help you with your marketing needs. A good marketing coach will charge $1000 per month minimum and that will give you approximately 5 hours of marketing consulting time. The good thing about hiring a marketing coach is that there is little or no learning curve. So hope to see you back here. In our next session we will start talking about the basics of marketing and what makes good marketing sense.